Tucked away in an industrial park in Vista, northern San Diego County, is a micro-brewery offering an adventure for the taste buds and a lesson in entrepreneurship. The neon light open sign on the outside adds a distinctive flair to what would be a typical looking light manufacturer’s enclave.
Indian Joe Brewery came on the scene in early 2013. Owner Max Moran is the only Native America micro-brewer in the United States. He learned the art from a German brewer and brewed beer alongside the brewmaster for 17 years. Max was an electrician in his vocational career but the joy of brewing was rooted deep inside and he finally decided to open his own micro-brewery.
I visited with him in the space that seats about 45 people and asked him about his preparation to transition from a personal pursuit to brewing as a business.
“Being an electrician taught me a lot about running a business and I applied those principles to Indian Joe.” Max smiled and revealed a bit of mindset needed to be an entrepreneur in most any field. “You have to be kind of nuts going in to this. Guess I’ve always been nuts.”
Max said he does no advertising and relies heavily on Facebook. “We gained 3,000 Facebook fans in the first six months and people like our beer so we’ve grown by word-of-mouth.”
He appears at local events whenever possible but word has spread. During my first visit to the location I came across it by accident on Memorial Day weekend and met a couple who had driven 90 minutes from Long Beach to have a taster.
I tried a taster size of the Red Raspberry Wheat with 7.3% ABV and it had chunks of real raspberries.
There are 28 different varieties of beer ranging from chocolate to strawberry and more traditional flavors available in taster sizes for $2 or glasses for $5. Every Friday, Indian Joe introduces a new brew.
Max and his family work seven days a week to keep the business thriving. Despite the long hours, he treats every customer like a welcome guest and harbors big plans.
“We want to expand and possibly go nationwide. That’s what we want. We’re looking for investors to build a good team and help us accomplish our next set of goals.”
Indian Joe is located at 2379 La Mirada Dr, Vista, California and is open afternoons and evenings Wednesday afternoon through Sunday.
For up-to-date information visit the website, Indianjoebrewing.com.